Earlier this year, Scandit CEO Samuel Mueller and Forrester VP George Lawrie presented an in-depth webinar on next-generation retail trends—with a focus on using mobile computer vision and augmented reality to create Amazon Go-type shopping journeys. Today, we’ll walk through insights and answers from the presentation’s Q&A segment. Read on for information about how retailers can leverage smartphone-based scanning to minimize costs, boost efficiency and elevate the in-store customer experience.
1. How affordable are smartphone-based scanners vs. traditional scanners?
Thanks to the demand and technical developments surrounding smartphone technology, quality devices are available to consumers at incredibly low costs—and that affordability applies to modern enterprises, too. A retail team can invest in durable smartphones that feature a powerful CPU and screen, reasonable battery power and good camera resolution for as little as $100 to $150 per device. Compare that investment with the costs of low-end dedicated scanning solutions (typically $500-$700 per unit), and it’s no surprise why retailers are abandoning conventional scanning devices in favor of smartphones.
It’s important to remember that consumer smart devices need to be scanning-enabled through integration of mobile computer vision software before they can be put to work in an operational setting. Scandit’s software delivers exceptional scanning performance at a fraction of the cost of dedicated scanners—with an annual TCO (total cost of ownership) of $150-$300 compared to the $700+ TCO of traditional scanning hardware.
2. Why are some retailers nervous about the future of retail—and how can they overcome these fears?
Brick-and-mortar retailers are facing two big threats: online retailing and virtualization of the supply chain. The first threat is obvious and Amazon’s automation and convenience exemplifies the effortless shopping experience that threatens countless retail businesses. As for the second, many brands are attempting to cut in-store retailers out altogether by selling directly to consumers via virtualized supply chains. There is a solution retailers can use to help combat these threats: creating the digital in-store retail experience consumers crave.
During the webinar, Forrester VP George Lawrie discussed the growing importance of providing flexible and personalized customer experiences. While most retailers can’t match the huge investments Amazon has made in camera-filled aisles and weight sensors, they can leverage inexpensive smartphone-based retail apps to digitize and streamline in-store shopping journeys and in-store operational processes. These solutions are powered by mobile computer vision and offer customers the ability to self-scan to avoid checkout lines, receive personalized deals and choose exactly when and where they’d like to shop. The same technology means store staff can be way more efficient with regular tasks such as price verification, stock-checks and click-and-collect. This blending of the digital and physical worlds is what creates an online shopping experience in a brick-and-mortar store—boosting customer satisfaction and your bottom line.
3. Which mobile data use cases are retailers most excited about?
Use cases can be split into two primary camps: consumer engagement and in-store operations. For many retailers, mobile self-scanning is the most promising engagement application of smartphone-based scanners—particularly those on the grocery side. Supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores can leverage self-scanning to match the fast and flexible shopping experience of Amazon Go without dramatic infrastructure and technology investments. Self-scanning on mobile smart devices also creates opportunities for augmented reality (AR) features—including using on-screen AR overlays to provide users with valuable product information.
Imagine being able to check for healthy product ingredients or use an ‘allergy checker’ while you’re actually shopping in-store! These short videos show how: Allergy Checker and Product Reviews. In fact, the US media recently got excited about this—including USA Today and Martha Stewart.
In terms of operations use cases, most retailers already recognize how highly desirable smartphones are as a scanning tool for shipping, receiving, picking and other key workflows. Smartphone-based scanners make it easy for store employees to find products for shoppers and drive revenue with more personalized clienteling efforts. Not only are smartphone-based scanners more cost effective and versatile than dedicated hardware, but they’re also loved by store staff—thanks in large part to familiarity. The result? Seamless integration and adoption across the retail supply chain.
4. What are most shoppers still missing from the retail experience?
Convenience is an essential part of any shopping experience. That’s one of the key reasons why Amazon has been so successful among consumers; shoppers want a fast and simple retail experience that suits their unique schedule. With e-commerce, consumers can order everything they need from the same place—without worrying about out-of-stock items or tracking down different sections of a store. In other words, many of today’s in-store shoppers don’t have the same level of assurance and accessibility they do when shopping online.
Consumer demands for convenient shopping grow with urgency, too. For example, if a customer wants to pick up a last-minute gift for the holidays, they need to know with absolute certainty that it’s in stock at the store they choose. That’s why in-store inventory checks are so important. By harnessing smartphone-based scanning, your retail team can quickly and accurately check inventory on items in the store—and deliver these insights to customers instantly. By delivering precise inventory information to shoppers via mobile data capture, you empower them with the same confidence and convenience that e-commerce stores offer—along with the many other benefits of the in-store shopping experience.
Transform Your Retail Brand With Scandit
Ready to explore more ideas and research insights from Scandit’s 2019 retail webinar? Then watch it now! You’ll come away with detailed information on how leading brands are deploying smart devices – right now – to support Amazon Go-type shopping experiences within existing in-store environments—and how retailers can use mobile computer vision to increase order sizes and optimize key retail workflows. We also walk through the evolving role smartphones play across in-store shopping interactions, and next steps you can take to adopt and deploy mobile data capture to transform your stores.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your business can use computer vision and smartphone-based scanning to create the in-store retail experiences your shoppers want, then be sure to check out our whitepaper on the subject. This free resource will show you how to blend the physical and digital worlds to replicate the Amazon Go-type experience—while creating greater value across the retail ecosystem.
Last but not least, be sure to connect with us for more information on Scandit and our powerful computer vision solutions for retail. We’re always here to help.